The rising cost of living (inflation) for fundamental family needs such as housing, health care, groceries and gas is unacceptable. I will fight for lowering expenses from child care to prescription drugs while creating accountability for price overcharging that exploits consumers. Investing and modernizing our supply chain infrastructure is also vital to lowering prices of goods for families.
Quality Jobs & Economic Development
I understand that investing in quality career pathways (especially through earn and learn models like apprenticeships) helps address poverty and creates higher standards of living for everyone. Supporting our small businesses is the foundation to ensure that our local economy prospers. This includes expanding access to capital and encouraging more local buying opportunities to empower community-based success. My vision for economic development in the region is inclusive, sustainable and based on the necessity of a flourishing middle class. It is critical to expand the support and awareness of proven poverty reduction policies. For example, the California Earned Income Tax Credit effectively puts thousands of dollars back into the pockets of working families to help pay for rent, child care, groceries, health care etc.
World Class Public Education
My own life is a testimony to the value and importance of an excellent public education for all students regardless of the family’s financial status. We must provide social-emotional well-being resources to create a learning environment for all students to succeed. I am a proponent of preparing our students for a diverse range of careers, from vocational trades to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Math) so that our next generations of leaders can competitively thrive on the global stage. Ongoing meaningful commitments to early childhood education, after school programs and, visual and performing arts are vital for all students to be optimally prepared. This also includes essential support for our English learners, foster youth and special needs students (for successful Individualized Education Programs - IEP). Meaningful commitments to invest in public k-12, community college, University of California and California State University systems are vital to make quality education accessible and maintain the level of global competitive standards.
The proliferation of homelessness is a humanitarian crisis and requires both critical actions and compassion to address. Bureaucratic processes that lead to inflating costs of service delivery and impeding the flow of resources need to be streamlined immediately. The comprehensive approach (beyond housing) that includes mental health, job training and other supportive services is certainly important and there needs to be more regional coordination for accountability. A greater emphasis on engaging families at the earliest onset of circumstances (e.g., eviction, mental health, addiction, loss of employment, domestic abuse) can facilitate support before people find themselves homeless.
Our region and state are facing severe housing shortages and the expansion of new residential construction can also serve as an economic opportunity. Homeownership also has historically been a path to building wealth for the middle class and increase civic engagement in communities. I am supportive of the public revolving loan fund (called CA Dream for All Program) that assists families with down-payment to purchase homes and lowers the cost of a mortgage. This type of resource is particularly critical as the rise of mortgage interest rates are prohibitively high for working families. The development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) should be incentivized through local permitting processes as an affordable housing option. There needs to be an assessment of both surplus government land and the possibilities of transitioning commercial property for residential development. Additional multi-family residential construction can also help make rents more affordable, which has been a major contributor towards inflation overall. We need to ensure that everyone knows their rights to protect both renters and homeowners from being exploited - especially senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities.
California has been a leader on addressing climate change and this complex issue requires ongoing generational based investments. The Inland Empire region is poised to have a transformational role in advancing innovation as the California Air Resources Board Southern California headquarters are based there in Riverside. Many of the state’s carbon goals and climate change plans will require new advancements in technology. Our region can leverage this premier research facility to attract more stakeholder partnerships that can further accelerate the adoption of carbon neutral solutions. Beyond the regional role, it will be imperative to provide the ongoing long-term based investments to address the statewide infrastructure for zero emission transportation options, water/drought, wildfire resiliency and protection/expansion of conservation land among many other related topics.
Dignified life for Seniors
My mom is a member of the 'Baby Boomer' generation, which is the largest ever to transition to retirement. Everyone deserves to enjoy this phase of life with dignity. There is tremendous anxiety for many people that feel they are inadequately financially prepared. This anxiety could be from a lack of access to planning support or unexpected hardships that depleted their savings. It is critical that everyone is aware of their eligibility for financial, health care and other resources without being exposed to fraud. It is very common for the retirement and health of senior citizens to impact the broader family. We need to make it as convenient as possible for loved ones to take care of each other. This includes making it easier for seniors to stay in their homes for health care support services. Seniors interested in remaining or returning to the workforce should have access to job training or other necessary support without any concern of age discrimination.